NYC Settles With Victim Of False Arrest In Massive Gay Entrapment Operation

Robert Pinter in 2009. Photo by Vadim Shepel.
Robert Pinter in 2009. Photo by Vadim Shepel.

The City of New York has paid a whopping $450,000 settlement in a fedral civil rights lawsuit this week, filed by a gay man who claimed he was falsely arrested for prostitution back in 2008 when an undercover vice officer offered him money for sex in an East Village porn shop.

According to East Village News, at least 41 men were arrested for prostitution in six different Manhattan porn shops in 2008 and 2009, most likely a remnant effect of the Giuliani administration’s promise to crack down on illegal sex shops in the city. According to the settled suit, filed by 58-year-old Robert Pinter, a number of them could have been falsely arrested as a result of “entrapment.”

According to Pinter, he was arrested in 2008 for prostitution despite ever having exchanged money or accepting money for sexual acts, a necessary smoking gun for any prostitution conviction. He reportedly “agreed to consensual sex” with an undercover NYPD officer in Blue Door Video, an adult store on First Ave.

According to reports, the two men left the shop together with the understanding that they would have sex, and that’s when the undercover officer “offered to pay for the sex.” Pinter said he was “caught off guard” by the offer and before he could rebuff, he was arrested.

Several others came forward in an interview with Gay City News in 2009, claiming they had been falsely arrested in similar fashion. The city paid out settlements to at least four other men in similar cases.

In 2013, NYC’s six openly gay and lesbian city council members posted an open letter urging the city to settle Pinter’s lawsuit because it “involves insidious entrapment of a gay man.” They concluded that “such policing tactics, especially when a gay man is involved, bring up very painful memories of an oppressive time in this country when such actions were even more widespread.”

So this is what the NYPD must be doing instead of catching actual gay-bashers.